Friday, March 18, 2011

Diary of an Angry Stay-At-Home-Mom

By Mary Alford-Carman

When I wrote Virtual Reality, I touted the pros of Facebook. During our family's last two months of illness, colds, flu, pneumonia and C-diff, Facebook kept my friends and family informed and people came to our rescue. They dropped off food, offered to run errands and kept us in good cheer. My husband was a wonder. He remained healthy during all but the last week of illness and he helped out tremendously, taking off five total days of work to help out including the one day to recoup from his illness. Through the majority of it, I stayed home sick and caring for my family, but guess who got the praise?

 In our last blog Sheilah wrote about women not getting the same pay for the same duties, and honestly, it works the same at home. As a stay-at-home-mom, taking care of sick kids comes with the territory, and yes, it comes with the territory that you take care of your children even when you are sick. I don't expect praise for doing my job, but acknowledgement would be nice. That's why I sort of blew up when praise was given to my husband for taking off work to take care of his family. He deserved the praise, but dang it, what was he supposed to do? He's a good man, and a good man always comes through, but don't think I was eating bon-bons and schlepping around for the duration of my family's illness.
I've come to the conclusion that it's just the way of our society. Things really haven't changed all that much. Stay at home and you equate to less than when you try to get back in the workforce. Stay at home and you're expected to somehow be less than others who work outside the home. You know what I'm saying. Go to a party and you get the standard, "What do you do?" When you answer homemaker, mommy, chef, etc., watch their eyes glaze over. Well, I'm angry as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. 
Why are the SAHM's dismissed so? I'm not trying to start a mommy war, pitting the SAHM's against the Moms who work outside of the home. We all have a full plate. But when a man gets more credit for doing what a SAHM does day in and day out, it chaps my buttocks.

It's bad enough that we don't get what we deserve in the workforce, but to be put down or ignored at home is simply unacceptable. A study on showed the dollar value of a SAHM would be over $117,000. The mom who works outside the home can add up to $71,000. onto her take-home pay. I think it's time society ponied up and gave the SAHMs and all MOMS the credit they deserve. I might just have to start a movement on Facebook. In the meantime, I'm waiting for my paycheck.


  1. It used to royally peeve me (and Stephen) would say..."must be nice!" about me staying home...ummmm they were all making the same thing! Difference... they had new cars and boats in their driveways and we didn't! But you know what? IT WAS NICE!!! Another peeve of mine is when someone talks about a daddy babysitting..they are not babysitters they are fathers!!!!!!! Now, how did you press those buttons tonight?! lol

  2. Have you ever had the "Oh you're out tonight, where are the kids?" Like the only one who could possibly do the job is the mom only. But what rankles me is when we start the steps into re-entering the work force. The questions at interviews, "Why did you decide to stay at home and care for your children?" What are they looking for in that question? One friend actually had someone ask in an interview "what would you do if you got pregnant again?" Would they ask a man "What would you do if you had more children?" Oh well. It's a mixed bag, but I'm proud of the decision that I made to stay home, at least they can't take that away from me!

  3. I agree. We went into a gazillion dollars of debt for our choice, so it's a huge sacrifice in many ways, all the way around. That should be acknowledged. It was the right choice, but it has far-reaching ramifications. No price tag on love, huh?

  4. Janet.....

    I stayed home, I raised our kids. My husband, he thinks his check covers his home responsibilities. His weekends are for him and his kids to have fun. Mine are to continue the chores. Well it can only happen if I let so I'm not and he doesn't like this very much. Too bad.

    Before him and the kids I had a life, a job, money of my own, 35 years I managed. When I stayed home and those credit card things came in the mail, I put in a self-employed salary and sent it in. I kept my rating! He said why would you do that? Because what I do here is worth a lot and I'll at least protect my future.
    Those children, well, they were not be on a rigid schedule, they did get to travel, to experiment, to explore, to grow in so many ways. They learned some manners too and respect. They know how to give freely to others even if they don't know them. We were home yes, maybe, but I was teaching them and they were learning. They know how to cook, clean, make repairs, work in the yard, care for enough animals for a zoo and more. They know what it's like to be able to do something on a spur of a moment or just do nothing because you can. They are good kids and good students. And I know even though no one else seems to know, that I was the major teacher/shaper in their lives, their early, priceless lives.

    Their father, he did baths and stories and weekend fun. I did the chores so he could have "his time" with the kids. Now I wish someone would have covered for me so I could have had some chore free time with them too! Instead the chores were always waiting, whispering, calling, screaming, so I was never really free of them.

    And now I know why I was not given a salary for that job because it is priceless. Raising a good child is priceless.

    The day our dyslexic child was accepted into the gifted classes in 2nd grade my husband called to check in from an out of town business trip. I told him the good news. He said nothing except good for the kid. I said how about saying something for me. Why he asked? He said, "It's not like you've had anything to do with their education or abilities." And at that point I went silent and my heart fell as I thought of the hours and things I had done to keep this child positive and learning and growing. And yet?

    I've stretched our money, I learned to lay the tile, the laminate, to make all kinds of repairs inside and out to continue to have a safe and good home. To learn to sew and put in zippers and snaps. I've done without but never grumbled. I've spent years in meetings with teachers, administrators, trying to get the needs met for these children. Plus the weekly speech lessons, the whole thing. He's made 2 meetings in 14 years. He's never given up his plans for them or us.

    And yes I get reminded of how I spend his money and don't earn any. Of how it must be nice to stay home all day and do nothing! I cook from scratch, I shop the sales for food. I learned to groom the standard poodle, to replace the window motors in the car doors.

    I also work part time, at one time I worked 3 part time jobs and still heard the same. I wonder what goes on in his head? Why he can't see what I do for our family? The sacrifices I make for our family? Are there magic glasses he needs? When did he become the adversary?

    I've been trying to return to "real" work and send out tons of resumes. To receive nothing in return. I did not get stupider over these years, I did keep up my skills, and yet I'm not even worth a response!

    Still I remember, the job I've had the past 14+ years, priceless. Maybe I'll put that on the next cover letter?

  5. You are one wonderful woman to have around. Seriously. It's tough being a SAHM and being a Jack-of-all-trades. We learn to juggle and work with what we have. Often it is expected of us and the "atta girls" never seem to come, but when I look at my children, I have a portion of my reward. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, in being aware of what it is we do and do well. Sometimes I think we look too much to others for our validation, when that validation should come from ourselves. Still, it's nice to hear, and would be heavenly to be paid. You hang in there and never let go of how priceless what you do is!


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